When’s the last time a commercial made you cry? Well, made you cry for joy? A colleague sent me this commercial for chewing gum that left me nearly blubbering. Go ahead and give it a watch, I’ll wait. You see, I’m in the waiting period after my second vaccination (even scheduling that, it turned out, was difficult) and we’re waiting for everyone we know to reach that state where being together with strangers, unmasked, will become safe and normal again. We’ve all been under enormous pressure for the past 14 months. The absolutely directionless response of the Trump administration prolonged the agony in this particular country, and some places in the world are still having a difficult time of it, but there is a light. There is a light.
Even we introverts are social creatures. Like cats, we suffer in prolonged, enforced isolation. We’ve been through difficult times. It’s been the deepest hope of mine that we would come out of this pandemic better than we went into it. The commercial, although clearly shot with humor, shows a more inclusive, completely accepting society. As the couples separated for months reunite the only concern is that they have fresh breath. It’s not what some other couple is doing. It’s not who makes up that couple. It’s simply that we are all ready to be back together instead of divided. It’s about love, not hate.
The most deadly poison of the Trump years was the normalization and acceptance of hatred. We are already, and we have been from the beginning, a diverse people. Like some mythological tower, we were divided because of fear. There was nothing really to be afraid of down here. Those at the top of the power structures (many of them sociopaths) want to protect their privilege. It’s far easier to do that when the rest of the people are at one another’s throats. Is English God’s own language? Can people not be taught to pound swords into plowshares? Perhaps when the time comes we’ll burst from these doors ready to accept those who are different as fully human. Perhaps we’ll not judge them for who they love or how. I don’t know why this commercial hit me so hard. Perhaps it’s the Jim Steinman power ballad, perhaps it’s the quality of the acting, perhaps it’s the welling emotion that’s been suppressed alone in shadowy corners for over a year, but this particular commercial hit a chord. And I don’t even chew gum, if that’s what it’s advertising.